Ending bitter Delhi standoff, Najeeb Jung quits to return to academia

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New Delhi | Published: December 23, 2016 6:02:09 AM

Ending months of a bitter stand-off with the Delhi government, Najeeb Jung resigned Thursday afternoon as Lieutenant Governor more than 18 months before his term was to end in July 2018.

Ending months of a bitter stand-off with the Delhi government, Najeeb Jung resigned Thursday afternoon as Lieutenant Governor more than 18 months before his term was to end in July 2018. Jung offered no reason for his resignation, only saying that he would be returning to “his first love”, academics.

A press release from Jung’s office at 4 pm confirmed that he had resigned as Lt Governor. “He thanks the Hon’ble Prime Minister for all the help and cooperation he received during his tenure… (and) the people of Delhi for all their support and affection, especially during the one year’s President Rule in Delhi,” it said.

Sources said that Jung had considered resigning at least two months ago, after the Delhi High Court in August had reiterated that the Lt Governor was the administrative head of Delhi.

And, despite his acrimonious relationship with the Delhi government under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Jung thanked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “for his association in the last two years”.

“Shri Jung would be returning back to his first love, which is, academics,” the statement read.

Sources in the Lt Governor’s office said his resignation was not linked to the running feud with Kejriwal, referring to the controversial tenure during which the AAP accused the Lt Governor’s office for causing roadblocks in governance, including in the appointment of bureaucrats, effecting new legislation, overruling decisions and the setting up of a committee to review 400 files cleared by this government.

Kejriwal described Jung’s move as “a surprise”. “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours,” he posted on his official Twitter account.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia posted on Twitter: “Bitter-sweet experiences, I can say that we have worked very well for Delhi with Jung. Good wishes for his future.”

The mood in the BJP was mixed, however, with leaders like R P Singh saying that Jung had “performed well”, while others like MP Udit Raj maintaining that Delhi would be served better with another Lt Governor.

The Congress, meanwhile, has demanded answers from the Centre on Jung’s resignation and alleged that he was “unceremoniously removed”.

A 1973-batch IAS officer, Jung had assumed charge as Delhi’s 19th Lt Governor on July 9, 2013, five months before the Delhi Assembly elections. Jung has worked with three governments — Congress under Sheila Dikshit in 2013, AAP-Congress government for 49 days and the AAP again in February 2015 — since then and even administered Delhi under President’s Rule in 2014.

Born on January 18, 1951, Jung pursued a Masters in History from Delhi University and went to study Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries at London School of Economics, UK.

He was also the vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, which became the first central university in the country to attain minority status with 50 per cent reservation for Muslim students during his tenure. Jung had a year and-a-half left in his tenure at Jamia when he was appointed Lt Governor.

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